The name Potten is Anglo-Saxon
in origin. It was a name given to a maker and seller of soup which is derived from the Old French word potagier,
which meant "maker and seller of pottage." Pottage is a thick soup or broth. The original bearer of this surname may very well have been an itinerant peddler traveling with a fair. It was common to have food sellers traveling with medieval fairs; pottage was a popular food stuff to be found at these events. A good literary example of this type of trade appears in the beginning of Thomas Hardy's book The Mayor of Casterbridge,
where the "furmity woman" precipitates the events of the novel by selling soup laced with alcohol to Henchard, who in later years becomes the Mayor of the title of the book. The word pottinger is Scottish for an apothecary. In the Household Book of James V. of Scotland
, one of the king's horses, set apart for carrying the drugs of the royal household, is jocosely known by this name: - 'uno equo pharmacopile, vulgo de Pottinger.' " CITATION[CLOSE]
Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
Early Origins of the Potten family
The surname Potten was first found in various shires throughout ancient England
. The Writs of Parliament may have the first entry for the name as it lists Walter le Potager, 1303. Kirby's Quest lists John le Potager, Somerset
, 1 Edward III CITATION[CLOSE]
Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
and the Freemen of York listed Simon de Wederhale, potager, 2 Edward III. CITATION[CLOSE]
Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
For these last two entries, the reader needs to understand that many early rolls merely had entries for each year of the king's reign as it took years to complete a given rolls. By example, "1 Edward III" meant "during the first year of King Edward III's reign."
Walter le Potagier was listed in 1300 and Walter le Potager was listed in Oxfordshire in 1321. CITATION[CLOSE]
Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
Quite unexpectedly, Scottish entries for the name were later. "The surname appears in Scotland to have been confined mainly to Orkney and Shetland. Alexander Potyngeir and Thome Potyngeir were jurors on an inquest held at Sabay, Orkney, 1522. Alexander Potinger was one of the witnesses to a deed of sale in Orkney, 1552." CITATION[CLOSE]
Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
Early History of the Potten family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Potten research.Another 220 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1500, 1640, 1575, 1762, 1776, 1556, 1789 and 1856 are included under the topic Early Potten History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Potten Spelling Variations
Until the dictionary, an invention of only the last few hundred
years, the English language lacked any comprehensive system of spelling rules. Consequently, spelling variations
in names are frequently found in early Anglo-Saxon
and later Anglo-Norman documents. One person's name was often spelled several different ways over a lifetime. The recorded variations of Potten include Pottinger, Potinger, Pottingal, Pottingale and others.
Early Notables of the Potten family (pre 1700)
Another 37 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Potten Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Potten family to Ireland
Some of the Potten family moved to Ireland
, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.Another 119 words (8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Potten family to the New World and Oceana
Thousands of English families boarded ships sailing to the New World in the hope of escaping the unrest found in England
at this time. Although the search for opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad took the lives of many because of the cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels, the opportunity perceived in the growing colonies of North America beckoned. Many of the settlers who survived the journey went on to make important contributions to the transplanted cultures of their adopted countries. The Potten were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records:
Potten Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
- William Potten, who landed in Maryland in 1668 CITATION[CLOSE]
Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
The Potten Motto
The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.
Motto: Virtus in ardua
Motto Translation: Courage against difficulties.